Concentration-dependent and light-responsive self-assembly of bolaamphiphiles bearing α-cyanostilbene based photochromophore
In this paper, a new bolaamphiphile bearing 1-cyano-1,2-bis(phenyl)ethene (CNBE) has been synthesized. The self-assembly of this molecule in aqueous solution is concentration-dependent. Two distinct morphologies, monomolecular layered lamellas and helical nanofibres have been obtained with the as-prepared molecular configuration. Note worthily, the helical nanofibres provide an experimental evidence for the pure twisted structure in the liquid crystals, which is theoretically proposed by De Gennes. Due to the photoisomerization of CNBE, the self-assembled nanostructures undergo morphological changes upon irradiation. Although various nanostructures were observed in the solution-state, only nanofibres were obtained after the solution was cast on a substrate, which was attributed to a strong dewetting effect. This work illustrates concentration-dependent and light-responsive self-assembly and provides a novel avenue for fabricating smart soft materials.